Thursday, April 02, 2009

American Opera Matters In Time Of International And National Financial, Economic, And Cultural Crisis And Renewal

The New York City Opera will revive Hugo Weisgall’s 1993 opera “Esther,” with soprano Lauren Flanigan. The opera was initially commissioned by the San Francisco Opera company, but the commission was subsequently cancelled (but later saved by Christopher Keene and the New York City Opera) during the reign of neo-conservative anti-intellectualism which swept the United States beginning with the first Reagan Presidency in 1981.

Still looking forward to the Washington National Opera announcing the five American classical operas that it plans to mount in the 2010 to 2015 seasons. Readers will recall that the San Francisco Opera has announced three commissions for the next six years, while the Minnesota Opera has announced the American operas that it will be premiering or reviving over the next six years.

Members of Congress and taxpayers will recall that the Washington Opera promised that it would stage one American opera each and every season if the company were allowed to rename itself the Washington National Opera. (The two wars and the global financial crisis have confused Congress in its oversight of the national opera company's promise, and allowed it to slip in productions of Britten's Billy Budd and Peter Grimes in lieu of the promised American classical operas. Imagine the English National Opera or the Russian Mariinsky Opera Theatre, Saint Petersburg mounting a season without a single British or Russian opera.)



9 c. Discs, probably field recordings of sacred and
secular music recorded by Rosowsky in Palestine, ca. 1935.

Oversized Box 10 (the contents are also listed with each series, above):

Oversized Correspondence:
10 1-3 English
4 Greek
5-8 Hebrew
9-13 Russian

Oversized Subject Files:
10 14 American Academy for Jewish Research
15 Article, “Die Music der Bibel,” n.d.
16 Lecture material, Chicago, n.d.
17 Lecture material, London, Cambridge, 1933-1934
18 Miscellaneous Certificates, 1952; 1957
19 Printed Material, Misc.
20 Rosowsky, writings about, biographical and critical

Oversized Scrapbook Material:
21 Clippings, 1932-1962
22 Juedisches Volks-Konservatorium in Riga
23 Programs, invitations, and announcements, 1932-1964

Oversized Cantillation Files:
10 24 Announcement of publication, 1958
25 Esther, manuscript


... "In 1986, Carnegie Hall reopened its doors after an extensive restoration project, and naturally, a gala concert was arranged for the occasion. Leonard Bernstein contributed a brief but beautiful work for orchestra and baritone soloist that he called Opening Prayer: a benediction for the hall and all who gathered in it. The text was the traditional Three-Fold Benediction from the Book of Numbers that is used in both Jewish and Christian services. Because of time constraints, longtime Bernstein associates Jack Gottlieb and Sid Ramin assisted with the orchestration. Bernstein himself conducted the work’s premiere by the New York Philharmonic on December 15, 1986.

At this same time, the composer was busy creating a larger work to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Israel Philharmonic, an orchestra with which he was also closely associated. Initially called Jubilee Games, it was inspired by the Jewish tradition of declaring every 50th year a “jubilee” year, in which wrongs would be righted and peace would be restored within the land."

Excerpt of Program Note for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra by Janet E. Bedell copyright 2008.


Bat Ayin (Hebrew: בַּת עַיִן‎) is an illegal Israeli settlement in the West Bank of the Future State of Palestine.


Header credit: Tikanta Shabbat. Baruch Leib Rosowsky. Riga, Latvia, ca.1900. Holograph score of Sabbath prayer setting. (B.L. Rosowsky, Solomon's father, was Oberkantor in Riga from 1871-1919.)

(c) The Library of The Jewish Theological Seminary, New York, 1996. 2009. Copyright controlled.


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